2Essay QuestionsTo what extent does the media have the power to influence voters?Social class remains a major influence in elections. Discuss.To what extent are the factors that influence voting inter-related?
3Background on Voting Behaviour Stability in voting patterns between 1945 – 1970Domination by two parties. Third parties less than 10% vote shareMore votes for LibDems in the 1970sVoting patterns more volatile and less predictable - “partisan dealignment”
4Social Class Class is the basis for all politics (Pulzer) A factor in voting patterns along with race , gender, age, the media, location and issuesTraditionally, voters in classes A, B and C1 voted Conservative, while C2, D and E (working classes) voted LabourHowever, working class occupations were disappearing in the 1980s to be replaced by increasing middle classesLabour lost traditional working class supportConservatives and LibDems attracted more working class voteNew Labour dropped some policies that appealed to the working class (nationalisation and union support)By 2001, only 9% of voters thought Labour working class partySocial class is no longer reliable predictor of voting patterns
5AgeConservatives popular among the over 50s; younger and first time voters vote LabourThis trend has continued during the last 4 general electionsOlder voters more likely to be conservatives, whereas younger voters concerned with health and educationOlder voters less likely to change party alignmentIssues affect different age groups - issues concerning the young most differ from general voting publicYoung voters are less likely to vote and less interested in politics. This could be the key to future elections.
6GenderIn the 1950s and 60s more men voted Labour and women Conservatives. WHY?By 2001 election, no significant gender differenceIn 2005, slightly more women than men voted Labour. Women were critical to Labour’s success as 38% of women voted Labour (Mori)School Gate Mum (new working class or professional middle class) is sought after by all the parties as she is very likely to voteHowever, some argue that gender appears not to have a significant effect on voting behaviour
9Location Regional variations in voting patterns Conservatives dominate SE England; Labour strong in Midlands, Northern England and ScotlandThe North south divide has shifted further south as labour dominated London after 1997Four party contest in ScotlandWales dominated by LabourSW England controlled by Cons, with labour in 3rd.Geographical differences might be due to class loyalties – Labour is strongest where working class are concentrated (Central Belt, Scotland). Conservatives in affluent middle class areas.
12Party affiliation Linked to ‘de-alignment’ theory ‘Floating voters’ have a significant impact on elections13% of voters were undecided in the week before election in 2005; 36% were willing to change their mindParty affiliation is less important than influence of policies and leaders (personalities)Voters are increasingly likely to change their mindsOther factors appear much more important